21 Songs that use Pachelbel’s Canon chord progression

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Whether in its initial type, or with minor adjustment, the used throughout Johann Pachelbel's " in D" has actually been repurposed into numerous pop songs, and Peter Waterman even declares that is "the godfather of all popular song".

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0:00 Introduction.
1:01 .
3:08 Variations on the development.
6:27 Flowkey.
7:11 Why is it so popular?

21 Pachelbel's Canon

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29 Comments

  1. Somewhat Green Day Basket Case is one that uses this which I’m glad you featured with the slight variation
    (i was trying to figure out this chord progression on piano and it sounded like Canon in D) 5:11

  2. This chord progression is simultaneously poignant and jubilant.

    Sadness and joyousness in a waltz of eternal fellowship. This is what makes life worth experiencing!

  3. 5:11 Damn Basket Case using a variation of the Pachelbel Canon chords, that’s pretty fun and interessing to see all those songs using those chords !

    1. So does the song “One Of My Lies,” by Green Day, off their album Kerplunk, which came out a couple years before Dookie.

  4. Maroon 5 not only following chord progression, but also using Pachelbel melody

  5. i love the fact that “laddies and gentlemen” uses not only the pachelbel’s canon chord progression, but they managed to sing “can’t help falling in love” from Elvis Presley too. Thats works so nice to me

    1. Reminds me of what Simon & Garfunkel did with “Scarborough Fair”. They mixed up two existing songs to effectively create something new.

    2. Speaking of, Cant Help Falling in Love is based in late XVIIth century “Plaisir d’Amour” and once you note that it actually pops out a lot. I think for example the megahit Eres tú (Touch the Wind) by Mocedades uses it.

  6. There’s a reason it’s so popular, it’s one of the greatest chord progressions ever

  7. These chord progression videos are pure gold. Adding all of these to a playlist for messing around later.
    Your channel is an incredible help – Thanks

  8. Hi David,

    I just wanted to thank you for the past near-three years of content on this channel. I really got into your content during the middle of 2020 and you amongst many other YouTubers who dissect songs through production and music theory. It has not only helped me learn and compose music a lot faster than usual, but gave a whole new level of appreciation for songs I’ve heard a hundreds times over. Not to mention your mentioning of Hook Theory really accelerated things for me in terms of understanding and composing modal structures.

    After acquiring the knowledge and practicing in this past year or two, I think I’m on the cusp of making my own demos soon and plan to go all the way by going into the studio with them. That being said, I’ve always dreamt about doing this ever since I was 12 so I once again want to thank you (amongst others) for basically changing my life and fulfilling a dream come true.

    Keep it up.
    -Bryton

  9. This first four bars of this progression is called the Romanesca in some 18th century theory texts. It come in two distinct forms – leaping bass and stepwise bass. In the latter form it’s known as the Gallant Romanesca by modern classical theorists and this is the form preferred by Oasis. I don’t think these theorists are familiar with the theoretical writings of Pete Waterman haha (who is tbf a massive classical music nerd.)

    All the Young Dudes by Mott the Hoople is my favourite example. Very clever use. I also like Mamma Mia.

  10. Also the movement of the couples of chords separated by a third is by thirds down the major scale, which is a very satisfying movement and allows to repeat the same melody on top without making really strage chords

  11. From this video I assume that both The Beatles and Radiohead have never had a song using Pachelbel’s Canon chord progression.

  12. This chord progression is popular in the chorus of power metal music as well. Examples include Emerald Sword by Rhapsody of Fire and Destiny by Galneryus

  13. Echoing some many here thank you for your explanations and insights and your playing. Excellent!

  14. ‘Found You’ by Ross Copperman was knowingly lifted from Pachelbel’s Canon, I believe he said as much in an interview

  15. I’ll always love this chord progression, no matter if it’s considered overused
    Now I have a better understanding as to why 😊

  16. The song Presente (el momento en el que estás), released by the pioneer Argentinian rock band Vox Dei in 1970, is one of the icons of Argentinian rock and uses this chord progression in its pure form.

  17. Wow, I knew plenty of these examples individually, but I had no idea collectively there were quite so many of them! It must be by some distance the single most influential piece of classical music on modern popular music.

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